Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time to make the donuts

Is anyone old enough to remember the Dunkin Donuts commercial with the "time to make the donuts" guy? Poor ol' sap. Every night he gets home from a long day at work only to be instantly awakened by his alarm clock signaling time to go back to work and make some sweet, fresh donuts. All the while he worked in a semi-catatonic state, repeating the same job of making donuts over and over and over and over and over...............

As a child watching this commercial I both envied and pitied the Dunkin Donuts guy. How cool would it be to work at a donut shop and eat all the donuts I wanted. On the other hand the man never slept, talked with his wife, played with his kids, or went Christmas shopping. That's not exactly the ideal life for me.

The donut guy isn't on TV anymore, but the mentality still exists in both life and games. I wake up every morning and force myself to get ready for work. All the while I'm hoping desperately that my body won't respond and I'll be able to call in to work. Most of the time I have no such luck, and I get up, go to work, and sometimes go through the motions.

In a way I've done that in WoW. Every day I need to make sure that I do my random dungeon for my frost, my JC and cooking dailies, etc. It's a routine, I'm going through the motions in a way.

"It's time to do the daily." Ugh, sounds boring, doesn't it.

Then I remind myself why I play and I think the donut guy had the wrong attitude. He made freakin' donuts! Soft, warm, sweet and delicious. Oh how I would still love to be around donuts all day, to surround myself in warm goodness. The work you do, the games you play, even if you do repetitive actions can change based on the attitude you bring to it. I can run 10 dungeons in a row and never get tired of them if I allow myself to become part of the story. If I keep my mind off emblems and gear, just go with the flow and immerse myself in everything around me.

Gimme a Boston Cream, Blueberry, Chocolate Frosted and a Culling of Stratholme to go please!

Ummm, warm and tasty goodness.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Swear I Felt That

One night while playing WoW I thought I felt something shake. No, it wasn't an earthquake, although living in Las Vegas we do feel the rumblings of the California soil once in a while. We actually have a lively geological history in Nevada, but I digress.

I felt something.

Have you ever played on a PlayStation or XBox? You know, the controllers can actually shake, but they are designed that way, a computer's keyboard and mouse are not (as far as I know). One lonely, dark night in Azeroth I was battling some random world elite who had the ability to stomp, or pound or slam or whatever, I don't pay much attention to those details. One particular stomp I swear I felt it. It wound its way from the programming code onto my monitor and from there through the cables of my keyboard and my mouse to my unguarded and unexpected fingers.

I felt it, I know I did.

That was a long time ago, hence my lack of detailed memory. But the details matter not when body and soul both tell me that I felt it. Was it more than just a big hit? Oh yes indeed. It was an energy flowing through my fingers, up my arms, through muscle, bone and sinew until finally reaching some hidden part of my brain it sent me a

Maybe it was my first experience with game-immersion, and if so then the reality of it was then undeniable. It was like a quicksand that told tales of knighthood, honor, courage, unmatched skill, hope and life...much unlike the actual message of Earth's quicksand which whispers despair, pain, suffering, and solitude. No, this was a quicksand that would draw me under this world's surface to an underworld of fantasy and excitement.

I'll always remember that night, I know I felt something, I just know it. There have been moments of prolonged silence since then (aka boredom) but that was my fault. I forgot to talk back to the whispered messages that once flowed from my fingertips to my mind. I force myself to go back there, to that time and place. Yes, I talk to the whispers, to the familiar voices of honor, excitement, hope and of course life. I talk to them because they once made me feel alive, they made me feel life in this game and it felt good.

As Shakespeare put it in his extraordinary work of Hamlet: "Though this be madness, there is method in 't."

Call me crazy, that's ok with me. But I know I felt it, and I won't budge. I still speak to the whispers. Why? Because they searched for countless years for me until they finally found me, alone, in the dark forest, in courageous battle, and said "there is life in here, let me show you and may you feel it."

I did. And I still do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

X Has Invited You to a Group

"Who are you? Why did you just invite me to your group? No, I don't want to duel you. Get away from me."

Maybe I'm alone in these thoughts, but I never did understand why somebody would invite me to a group without telling me what the heck they want out of it. Do people assume that just because you are in the same zone that you are doing the same thing (i.e. same quest) as them? Or perhaps the person is so socially depraved that they can't go 5 minutes without forced social interaction.

When this happens I try to be polite and ask what quest they are currently working on. If it's the same as mine then I know it's safe to group...for a while anyway.

When I am done with my quest my brain starts to tingle, my fingers slowly move to my mouse and over my portrait, I right click, open Party chat, then...

Gronthe: Did you get what you need?
X: I need one more
Gronthe: OK

Fight, loot, finish quest.

X: I got it!
Gronthe: Great! Hey thanks, cya
X: Wanna run a dungeon?
Gronthe: Uh, no thanks, I've got other stuff to do
X: Wanna kill stuff?
Gronthe: Gotta log, sorry.

Then I log out. 5 minutes later I log in. Free and clear.

Wow, I am so socially inept, aren't I? I think it's because I hate confrontation, I don't want to tell somebody else to "get lost, noob", that's just rude. But I don't want to "just kill stuff" either. And if I wanted to run a dungeon I would have queued in the LFD and never would have accepted a group because that would have kicked me out of the queue.

I am not a particularly social being, I am incredibly shy in RL and in-game. I don't mind the occaisional group-up to complete quests with others in the same cave as me, that's fun. But usually if I'm questing solo it's because I want to be alone. Anything beyond needing another to down an elite disturbs by state of zen.

But that's just me, I'm simple that way. I bring my personality directly to my characters (to the extent that's possible). When I feel sociable, I talk, when I want to be left alone, I quest. For me my playtime is serious business, in that I want to have fun my way when I want it. The random group invite simply messes with my mood, especially when it comes out of nowhere with no explanation.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Theory of Relativity

Or Relativity, actaully refers to two of Albert Einstein's theories, namely "Special Relativity" and "General Relativity". Don't worry, I have no intention in discussing either theory or even delve into the Principle of Relativity. What I can say absolutely is that none of these principles/theories mean the following:

"Theory of Relativity means that upon further study of subject X, the other professor on the project has achieved different conclusions than myself and therefore we agree that there is no absolute truth, but the truth is relative, depending on how you look at it."

Only a really, really stupid person thinks anything like this. And when I say stupid, I mean truly deficient in mental acuity. Having said that, the term "Relativity" has profound impacts on cultural and social structures and is played out in our homes, place of work, churches and even in the games we play.

Some love goes out to Tobold and his post on Rise of the Leet King. The words Hard vs Easy must be, if we are to understand each other, and I hate to go here, RELATIVE. I hope that you will agree with this assumption. For proof of the assumption I relate my own experiences.

I am an accountant and love to work with Excel. The people I work with have no idea what a spreadsheet is or does, let alone how to write a macro. That's not to say that they are not intelligent people or do not have the capacity to learn what I know, I beleive they are smart and can do it given time and practice. But what is easy for me is hard for them, thus the proof that Hard and Easy are relative terms.

Back to Tobold. His post was humorous, but it brings up the issue of how hard or easy World of Warcraft is. The "word on the street" is that since WoTLK came out a little over a year ago things have become easier. Instances, Raids, Leveling (ty Heirloom items), professions, and I'm sure the list is longer but I just don't care to list everything.

Let's take just one example for now...why are instances easier? For one many of the new WoTLK dungeons are shorter and don't present the same levels of trash mobs that Vanilla or BC had. There's less need to CC due to more emphasis given to class AoE abilities that help burn down a group of trash rather than CC'ing them. And, lest I forget, the new emblem system allows a fresh 80 to jump right into T9 gear, making the scale of the dungeons to the player's gear an absolute joke. Even with all that, however, you still need people to do their jobs or the run will fail.

From my perspective I don't view things as hard or easy, I prefer to think of things that are either interesting to me or what I attribute value to (i.e. what I think is "worth" doing). Both of these things are insanely subjective and relative to other people's views. Whatever I think of playing the AH, it's only relative to other people's views on the subject. Neither is right or wrong, it's dependent on the value placed on that activity.

Again, for some, playing the AH is easy; due to addons or mental acuity, as for others it's more difficult (not good at math). But the question of hard or easy for me is usurped by the question of value. Do I value dungeons as a means of enjoying myself, no matter the level or relative difficulty? If I do then I don't care if I think they are easy, I will run instances anyway. The inverse is also true.

So hard or easy, I really don't care, it's all relative anyway.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Let me introduce myself. I am Gronthe (Gron-thee). No, not the Tauren, but the Human Warlock you find on the WoW Armory (US). Is this my only character in WoW? No, not even close, it's just one of many, but one of the easiest to pronounce.

Why am I attempting to blog? Because I got stuff to say, man. The internet is a fabulous medium to have your voice heard, for good or for bad. And that's what I'm doing.

I perceive that there are two irreducible elements in World of Warcraft, person and character. As the view that humans are constituted as matter and spirit, when I play wow I become the spirit of the character who is on the screen. Together we share experiences, although I am glad that I actually don't get cut down by Frostmourne in real life, that would suck big time.

My only goal here is to provide insight into my Duality, or better said, my Deuwowlity, as I and each character I control lives in the fantasy world of Azeroth and beyond. I don't plan on writing guides, strats, theorycraft, or talk about only one class; I'm not smart enough for that. But I hope you enjoy what I gots to say, cause there ain't no stopping me now.